How Should I Handle Getting Hurt in a Department Store?
If you've been hurt at a department store while shopping because of someone else's negligence, you deserve to be compensated. Unfortunately, often when such injuries happen, most victims are never sure of what to do next. For this reason, we've created a comprehensive guide on how to handle getting hurt in a department store, and we hope to help you or your loved one facing a similar situation find justice and compensation.
Is the Department Store Owner or Manager Responsible for My Injury at the Store?
Department store owners and store managers have a legal obligation of duty to care. This obligation requires them to take all reasonable measures to avoid exposing visitors to dangerous conditions while at the store or within its premises. Should they fail to do so, they'll be responsible for injuries the visitors may sustain while on their premises.
So yes, they are if they failed to prevent or rectify a defective condition that led to your injury within a reasonable period.
The retail store premise is not only restricted to the display aisles. Other areas include:
- Parking lots.
- Fitting rooms.
- Checkout lanes.
And any other area accessible to the customers while on the premises.
Common Causes of Store Injuries
Most retail stores observe safety measures required by law to prevent dangerous conditions that may cause injuries to visitors or even their employees. Unfortunately, retail accidents are still pretty common, with victims nursing various injuries, such as cuts, broken limbs, and dislocated bones.
Some of the common causes of department store injuries include:
- Wet or oily floors.
- Overloaded shelves.
- Faulty rails, staircases, and elevators.
- Obstructions in the aisles.
- Unstable shelves and falling merchandise.
- Poor lighting in the store and parking lot.
How to Handle Getting Hurt in a Department Store
Regardless of the severity of the injury, it's important to know what to do next. Here are a few steps to follow:
Call for Help
Call for help from anyone in the store immediately after the injury. You can do this by shouting or waving at a distant person to let them know you need help. Avoid moving without help, especially if you've injured your back or have a broken limb, as it may lead to further injuries.
Seek Medical Attention
The next important thing to do is to seek medical attention whether you sustain serious or minor injuries. Even though you may not feel excruciating pain right after the injury, it's always advisable to have a doctor examine you to establish the possibilities of any future complications resulting from the injury.
A physician will let you know if you need further checkups later if they fail to note anything serious from the initial scan. They'll also tell you the symptoms you may need to watch out for if the injury results in complications.
Gather Evidence of the Incident
Gathering evidence is possibly the most challenging part, given that it determines whether you have a claim or not. Remember that you'll need to have proof of negligence for the retail store owners to be held liable.
To prove negligence and the store's liability for your injuries, you'll need to provide evidence:
- of a defective or dangerous condition.
- that the owner was aware of the defective condition.
- that the owner didn't repair the defective condition within a reasonable period.
- that your injuries were due to the dangerous condition.
- that you played no part in causing your injuries.
With that in mind, ensure that the evidence you collect answers these questions:
- Was the retail store owner responsible for providing the duty of care on the premises?
- Was the duty of care violated, creating an unsafe or defective condition in the store?
- Was this violation of the duty of care the cause of your injuries?
Components of Evidence Collected
Begin collecting evidence of the incident as soon as possible to help build your case effectively and on time. Here's what to include in your evidence:
Your Medical Report
One of the reasons for seeking prompt medical attention after the injury is to collect the medical report as evidence. Seek urgent medical attention after the injury; this links your injuries to the hazardous conditions in the store. If medical attention is delayed, your claim may be invalidated.
An Incident Report
The store manager should fill out an incident report, give you a copy, and send another copy to the store's insurance company. The incident report documents the events of the incident and also acknowledges that the accident occurred.
Pro tip: Avoid yelling, arguing, or talking about the incident with the store manager or owner. This prevents you from saying something they may use against you in the claim.
Witnesses Accounts and Information
If you have any witnesses of the incident, ensure that you collect their statements and contact information as they may help prove your case during personal injury litigation.
Videos and Photographic Evidence
In addition to the photos and the videos you'll take of the scene and the hazardous condition, take more photos of your injuries, treatment, and recovery process. Additionally, you can request a copy of the surveillance camera footage that captured the incident at the store.
Collect Related Documents
Keep important documents such as medical bills, medication receipts, medical records, proof of loss of wages, police reports, and any communication with the store and the insurance company. When you file your claim, these documents will be required by the court, your attorney, or both.
File an Insurance Claim for Retail Store Negligence
After gathering all the evidence and documents needed, you can now file your insurance claim for compensation. The insurance company will respond to your claim after reviewing and offer a reasonable settlement amount if their client is at fault.
However, the insurer might be reluctant to honor your claim, especially if required to pay a considerable sum of money. They may employ different tactics to try and turn the case around in their favor, such as dismissing evidence of their client's responsibility for the incident.
Such twists and turns may become very frustrating, prompting you to give up on the pursuit of justice. But, unfortunately, quitting won't ease your pain or compensate you for all the financial losses you've already suffered. In addition, the department store won't feel obliged to rectify their mistakes, exposing more customers to avoidable hazards in the process.
Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
Hiring a competent and experienced personal injury attorney from a reputable personal injury law firm like Morgan & Morgan is completely worth it. This is because such an attorney is usually familiar with the tactics store owners and insurance companies use to avoid liability.
For this reason, a Morgan & Morgan personal injury lawyer will tactfully approach the case, increasing your chances of winning and getting fair compensation.
Besides, depending on the type of injury you may have suffered, you may not be physically able to follow up on these cases all by yourself. During this process, the last thing you'll need to encounter is the additional trauma and stress of dealing with insurance companies or court proceedings. However, hiring an experienced personal injury attorney is the right thing to do for the sake of your health, recovery process, and peace of mind.
Other Types of Injury Claims Department Stores Can Be Sued For
Other than slip and fall incidents, several other types of injuries can occur due to negligence in a department store. These include:
Mishandling by Store Security
In most cases, the security guard at a department store is mandated to keep the store safe and monitor shoppers' activities. Suppose a customer has been suspected of unlawful activities such as shoplifting. In that case, the security guard may be allowed to use reasonable force to detain the suspect without violating their basic rights.
However, this primarily depends on the specific store policies. For example, in some stores, security guards cannot apprehend such suspects; they can only contact the police when they suspect shoplifting or any other crime within the store's premises.
The guard also must have sufficient probable cause for apprehending such a suspect.
However, if the guard uses excessive force on a suspect or fails to have sufficient reason to apprehend them, the suspect may suffer injuries and emotional trauma. As a result, they may sue the store and also file claims for injuries.
Lack of Store Security
Stores that lack adequate security can expose customers to dangers, especially in the event of a robbery. Therefore, as part of the duty to care, the store owner should ensure that the store has sufficient security, including surveillance cameras and security guards.
The department store can be held responsible for selling a defective product, especially if the product causes harm or injuries to the buyer. This kind of claim is determined by product liability laws that vary among different states.
Therefore, it's advisable to learn the product liability laws of your state before suing the retailer for the injuries or harm caused by a product you purchased in their store.
Types of Legal Remedies for Department Store Lawsuits
Depending on the circumstances of your case and the laws of the state you reside in, you can either claim general or special damages for the incident.
These are called compensatory damages awarded due to damage, injury, or loss to help restore the injured person to their former position before the incident.
The award comes in the form of financial compensation to remedy the following types of damages:
- Medical expenses.
- Lost wages.
- Emotional distress.
- Cost of permanent disability.
- Loss of consortium.
- Repair of property (such as a car).
- Cost of ongoing treatment.
- Funeral expenses.
In addition to these remedies, the court may order the department store owner to implement certain practices and policies to prevent such incidents from recurring in the future.
How Much Can I Be Compensated for a Slip and Fall Claim?
Your compensation will entirely depend on the circumstances of your case and how well your attorney handles the case. Morgan & Morgan attorneys believe in fighting for what you rightfully deserve and may help you fetch more than the insurance company offers.
What Should I Look for in a Personal Injury Lawyer to Handle My Department Store Injury Claim?
Talk to an attorney with proven experience and passion for solving such cases. For example, at Morgan & Morgan, we have recovered over $10 billion for our clients so far. Our attorneys leave no stone unturned in pursuing justice for their clients, even if it means taking the claims to court.
Can I Settle My Slip and Fall Claim Out of Court?
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you can negotiate a reasonable settlement with the department store owner out of court. An experienced slip and fall attorney from Morgan & Morgan can help you make the best decision when choosing between negotiating a settlement and pursuing a lawsuit.
Why Choose a Personal Injury Attorney From Morgan & Morgan?
If you're looking for an attorney who'll stop at nothing to ensure you find justice and the kind of compensation you deserve, look no further than Morgan & Morgan. The numbers speak for themselves, but the greatest achievement for each of our personal injury clients is how life-changing the outcomes of their cases are.
We understand how traumatizing premises liability incidents can be to the victims and their families, not to mention the financial losses that come with the injuries. That's why we take care of the complex legal matters on your behalf, so you don't have to worry about anything else but your health and wellness.
Contact Morgan & Morgan for a Free Case Evaluation
Morgan & Morgan is just a phone call away 24 hours, seven days a week. Give us a call today at 877-433-8599, or drop us a message online for a free case evaluation. And the best part of it is you don't have to pay us anything until we win the case for you!